Orion Samuelson>LPL Interviews N-Z>LPL Interviews N-Z, Segment 16


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Freedom of Farm Act 1996--beginning of change in agriculture policy up to that point you had to grow corn, soybeans, cotton, wheat whether the market was there or not. If you farm government programs you can do very well, people taking money from the government. Mike Esbee and Dan Blickman were Secretary of Agriculture and Charlie Senbull and other senators set out to change the way. Encouraged farming for what the market planted. Set low level for assistance. Programs haven't changed much since then. Latest program is more about feeding people. Very little money going to farmers now compared to what it used to be. Green industry--fruit and vegetable producers--were left out, now they're a part of farm bills. Food stamps are a part of farm bills to get city congressmen. People in producing agriculture is down, but a lot more directly involved in retail. Farmers can change quickly if economic incentive is there.
Talks about hog farmers in 1998--there wasn't demand and no export market. Production was high, feed costs were low. There weren't enough packing plants to take all the pigs. Upward supply, down on price. Today, there's a much higher export market. Mexico is the biggest buyer of pork and beef. China and India import soybeans. China is developing dairy farms. Can't mechanize, need hand labor which limits production. They mostly need fertilizer, their soil has been depleted because they haven't used fertilizer.